Meditating had helped — at least a little, Zamarra’s hands no longer trembled, but she was unable to clear all of the worry from her heart. Kif had found a quiet place among some ruins, far removed from any Imperial or Republic camps. There weren’t any Voss there either, at least as far as Kif had seen, only the lonely far-off calls of some bird. There must have been once, for the stones were inscribed with the same intricate yet puzzling patterns that she’d seen among the Voss buildings. She hoped they weren’t a dire warning of things to come.
She heard his voice before she saw him. It was a bit different than she remembered — deeper, and it had picked up the Imperial accent, which unnerved Zamarra. But it was his voice, there was no doubt of it.
She had always remembered her brother as bigger than herself. He was older, but there was more to it than that, a reassuring sort of strength that he possessed. As a grown man, he wasn’t as large as some others, but to Zamarra, he was still a giant. His eyes were the same, too. They didn’t look angry or clouded by the dark influence. He wore the black and red Sith robes that she’d seen in the holo, but there was no saber at his side. Zamarra’s relief won out over her wariness, and she hurried over to her brother, wrapping her arms around him in a hug. Maybe it would all be all right, somehow.
“What happened?” Zamarra asked, pulling back to look at him more carefully. His stripes seemed darker, and she gasped when she saw scars hidden among them. What had become of Malavar and Mother after she had gone? Malavar glanced back briefly among the stones, where Kif and the Togruta girl that he’d mentioned stood watching. Zamarra saw that she was holding Malavar’s saber, and she appeared to have two of her own at her belt. She didn’t look like a Sith.
He urged Zamarra gently forward, down a small hill a little way out of the ruins. Maybe he didn’t want Kif to hear – or maybe that girl. He didn’t answer yet, though. “Are you okay, Zamarra? You’re a Jedi now?”
“Yes. They started my training as soon as I got to the Temple. I tried to send them for you–”
Malavar’s expression softened briefly. She imagined it didn’t do that often in his new life. “They did,” he replied. “They came to test me. They didn’t find anything.”
Zamarra arched a brow, looking over at him. “Then how?”
“I didn’t notice it happening at first. But I guess all of the anger I felt toward my master, it — it focused, somehow.” Zamarra nodded silently. It was not unheard of for Force ability to show itself later in life, but the circumstances surrounding his awakening troubled her. How could he control it, born of the Darkness? “For a while, I could keep it a secret. But not long.” Malavar frowned, looking away into the distance. Zamarra could guess well enough what had happened.
“So they took you to Korriban?”
“I had no choice. It was that or die. I wasn’t supposed to make it through, but I did.” Zamarra knew that was true. The initiation process for Sith was brutal, meant to weed out any weakness. The Jedi, at least, did not kill those who failed to succeed. “I never wanted this. I still don’t.” Malavar frowned, glancing down at his hands. “But at least I am free. And now I’ve found you.”
“What do we do now?” Zamarra was keenly aware that Kif was right; she could only meet with her brother in secret. While he posed no immediate danger to herself, he was still a Sith and would be seen as a threat by anyone in the Republic. Not the least of all, her fellow Jedi. But she couldn’t lose him again, not now.
Malavar sighed, shaking his head. “I just want a normal life. I don’t suppose I’ll get that.”
“At least you have your sister now,” Zamarra pointed out, putting her hand on his gently. “And who is that girl?”
“Oh, she’s — my apprentice,” Malavar said, but his flustered look told Zamarra otherwise.
“Oh really?” Zamarra giggled, glancing back to where the togruta stood. It looked like she was talking to Kif, yet still watching them both closely. “She doesn’t look like a Sith.”
Malavar shook his head, trying to regain his dignity while his little sister teased him. “She’s not, she’s a Jedi. Or she was. I’m not sure now.”
A Jedi? She looked to be about Zamarra’s age. Now she was even more curious to speak to the girl. “But I can talk to her, right? She’s not… dangerous?”
“No, she’s not dangerous. And she’s very eager to talk to you too. I told her a little about you.” The togruta girl saw Zamarra looking over and gave her a little wave. No, definitely not dangerous. Her presence reassured Zamarra that Malavar couldn’t really be as dangerous as other Sith.
Zamarra took her brother’s hand again, squeezing it. “You can stay for a while, can’t you? You just got here.” He nodded, though she saw a flicker of something in his expression. Worry, maybe? She couldn’t be certain. “I don’t want you to leave yet. And I’d like to talk to her too.”
“I’ll stay,” Malavar said, putting his arms around her in a hug. Despite all of their years apart, it felt like she belonged there. “It’ll be all right.”